Take the initiative to prevent overuse injuries before they become a problem.
A number of factors are within our control when it comes to Occupational Overuse Syndromes (OOS). An active approach from each individual will be more effective than dealing with issues once they arise!
WHAT IS AN OOS?
Have you heard of an OOS? You may know them under their different terms; Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) or Gradual Process Injuries (GPIs). Specifically, you may have heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tenosynovitis, or Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow). These are commonly accepted OOS’s however the term is not limited to these areas!
Often these conditions are caused by repetitive or forceful movements, or the holding of awkward postures. Any activity during which we are holding muscles tense for long periods of time can lead to an OOS.
These types of conditions are characterised by discomfort, muscle tightness, numbness and tingling or persistent pain in muscles, tendons or other soft tissues. These symptoms tend to develop gradually and worsen over time if left untreated.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
We can work to prevent our own risk of OOS. Some ideas are outlined below for your use:
1) Take care of Number One! Work to maintain a good level of health and fitness outside of work to balance the time spent in static postures. The avoidance of smoking could be a great place to start.
2) Make a habit to reverse your static postures or change position regularly. This could be as simple as stretching or taking a short walk. As a start, some great stretches can be found at https://www.axisrehab.com.au/blog/moving-more-work-reduce-your-sitting-time/.
3) Find reasons to stand for a short time. If you are taking an extended phone call or reading a document – why not stand up to do so? If you have a number of things to print – why not walk to the printer for each document? Could a meeting be held in standing? Be inventive!
4) Set reminders to take these breaks from your normal work position. If you are experiencing any issues, set the reminders for before the symptoms usually occur. Some workplaces have a system on the computer to prompt for breaks – you could try downloading one yourself or setting frequent notifications on your mobile phone.
5) Learn to use your office chair properly – play with lean and tilt functions to change positions and loading patterns when you are not typing. Why not recline if you can do so!
6) Seek assistance if you think your workstation is poorly set up – get involved with making your workplace the most comfortable place for you!
Be proactive with preventing OOS to safeguard yourself during your career!
AXIS are leading providers of ergonomic solutions – contact us today to discuss your personal or organisation’s needs today!